Rogue landlords should face a higher minimum fine from the courts as a way of preventing poor standards in the private renting sector, according to the Local Government Association.
It wants magistrates to hand down fines of at least £30,000 - equiavlent to the current maximum fine amount that a council can enforce.
Under powers introduced by the government last year, councils can issue fines of up to £30,000 for failing to license properties or a failure to complying with a property improvement notice. There are, however, no minimum sentencing guidelines for magistrates.
Martin Tett (Con), the LGA’s housing spokesman, said: “Councils want to work with landlords, not against them. But with more young people and families renting privately than ever before, we need to see reforms that will maintain and improve housing standards.”
The LGA is lobbying government to introduce sentencing guidelines as a “key deterrent” against rogue landlords and a means of consistency in sentencing.
“It is not right that the level of civil penalty could outweigh that which is handed out by magistrates,” Cllr Tett said.